Hungary entered a war of words with Sweden over child benefits legislation

Hungary and Sweden were embroiled in a serious dispute on Wednesday. The incident occurred when the Swedish Social Affairs Minister Annika Strandhall issued a twitter statement on a recently introduced Hungarian legislation on child benefits.

On 10 February, the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced the initiation of a new law offering favourable tax schemes and loans with reduced interest rates to families who had more than two children. The new law seeks to assist young families in purchasing their own households and cars, and envisages reduced tax contributions for families with four children and over.

The Swedish Minister issued a tweet two days later claiming that these legislations are outdated practices, equating them to measures taken in the German state during 1930s. The Minister also argued that such measures represent smokescreens to the universal cause of women to achieve greater independence in all aspects of social life, including the financial dimension.

The Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister, Zsolt Semjen, issued a response on Sunday claiming that the Swedish Minister’s remarks were politically incorrect and that she had to reconsider the evaluation of the recent legislative measure.

The Swedish Foreign Ministry summoned the Hungarian Ambassador to threaten with countermeasures in case ad hominem (personal) remarks are directed by Hungarian officials towards the Swedish Minister. The Hungarian Foreign Ministry also called in the Swedish Ambassador and impeached his government for equating Budapest’s policies with the Nazi equivalents in the 1930s. Additional action is expected to take place in the coming days between the two counterparts.

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